The UK Innovator visa is designed for foreign entrepreneurs who plan to run their own business in the UK. It is ideal for business people with an innovative business idea who want to set up a company in the UK or for experienced entrepreneurs that have been running a business outside the United Kingdom for many years and wish to expand it to the UK. You can establish a company in the UK either by yourself or with a business partner. To obtain a UK Innovator visa, you must invest in a new business which means it is not allowed to invest in an existing one.
A UK Innovator visa allows you to apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and UK citizenship. Once your business idea is endorsed, all you have to do is to establish your business, take an active part in its development in the UK and other markets, ensure its growth, increase profits and create jobs. It is crucial to follow your initial road map and meet the targets you declared in your first application for a UK Innovator visa.
You will be eligible for a UK Innovator visa if:
A UK Innovator visa will give you access to the booming UK market. It is your chance to increase the number of customers worldwide, generate high profits and contribute to the local economy by creating jobs. Initially, the visa is issued for three years and can be extended any number of times, and every time you can set up a new company.
Apart from this impressively wide range of opportunities you will have in the UK as an Innovator, there are other advantages for the applicant and their family:
All the requirements imposed by the Home Office can be divided into two categories: those concerning an applicant and those concerning their UK business.
Apart from the relevant education and experience in running a business, applicants must fulfil the following criteria:
Before applying for a UK Innovator visa, you need to have your business idea endorsed by one of the relevant bodies, including business incubators, investment funds, consultancies, universities, colleges and other endorsing bodies authorised by the UK Home Office to evaluate projects of foreign entrepreneurs. There is an updated list of endorsing bodies on the official government website. Note: your endorsement letter must be issued not more than three months before you apply for a UK Innovator visa.
To make the right choice, you must do your research or get the support of experienced immigration advisors. Our company can help you choose an endorsing body, draft a business plan for your future company and get an endorsement letter.
You have a very good chance of getting a UK Innovator visa if your business project meets the following criteria:
In contrast to a UK Start-up visa, it is not enough to come up with a brilliant business idea to apply for a UK Innovator visa. You also need to have at least £50,000 in investment funds and:
You are allowed by law to submit a joint application for a UK Innovator visa together with other entrepreneurs, provided that each of you invests at least £50,000.
You do not need to invest anything if:
There are three ways to apply for a UK Innovator visa:
The majority of foreign entrepreneurs apply for a UK Innovator visa online from their home country. However, to have your application approved, you will have to submit a set of supporting documents and go to a visa application centre in person to have your fingerprints and photo taken for your biometric residence permit.
All the documents mentioned must be in English or accompanied by a certified translation.
To get your UK Innovator visa, you will have to pay an application fee upon submission of the application, and the healthcare surcharge. The sum you pay before application depends on whether you apply for a UK Innovator visa from within or outside the UK:
The immigration healthcare surcharge depends on how long you are going to stay in the UK and the number of your dependants: you will have to pay £624 per person per year.
To calculate precisely how much you will have to pay to apply for a UK Innovator visa, get in touch with Imperial & Legal immigration advisors. Reliable legal assistance in this process is of vital importance because if your visa is refused, you will not get your money back.
Once all the requirements of the Home Office are fulfilled, it will take:
You can pay for priority (collection within five working days) or super priority (next day collection) visa service if the standard processing time does not work for you for some reason. If you apply for a UK Innovator visa from within the UK, you will have to pay £500 for the priority service and £800 for the super priority service. The cost and availability of the services outside the UK depend on the country you apply from and whether there are visa application centres in that country.
UK Innovator visa gives you the right to stay in the UK and run a business for up to three years. If for any reason, your endorsement letter has been withdrawn, you must get an endorsement letter from another approved body or leave the UK.
If three years later you still meet all the requirements, you can apply to extend your stay for another three years. Your dependants must apply for their residence permit extension together with you.
There is no limit on the number of times you can extend your UK Innovator visa, but the majority of migrants prefer to apply for UK ILR as soon as they are eligible to do so. If your business shows an outstanding growth rate, you will have the right to apply for ILR once you have been in the UK for three years.
You can apply for ILR 3 years from the first entry on a UK Innovator visa. Your application will have to be supported by your endorsing body. A foreign entrepreneur must submit a report to an endorsing body showcasing the development of their company after 6, 12 and 24 months of the company’s being operational. If the Innovator’s business meets two out of seven criteria, the approved body may issue an endorsement letter giving them the right to apply for UK ILR.
Your spouse and children under 18 and even children over 18, provided they came of age while staying in the UK, can apply for ILR with you.
Your family members and you can apply for UK citizenship in 12 months after ILR is granted provided you have stayed in the UK for at least five years. It usually takes 4-6 weeks to get a decision on your application. All the applicants must meet the following criteria:
Our immigration advisors have been successfully helping future British entrepreneurs for years. Legal support from Imperial & Legal will save you time and money, and our experienced immigration advisors will do their best to make sure you get your UK Innovator visa. With Imperial & Legal, you are only four simple steps away from your UK Innovator visa.
A business plan is one of the fundamental requirements for this visa category. Besides, a business plan would be of great help for you to get an endorsement letter.
To make an unbiased decision for every application, the Home Office uses the point-based immigration system. To get a UK Innovator visa, you will need to score 70 points. The criteria are as follows.
A business plan
The business idea is innovative, viable and scalable
You have invested or are going to invest £50,000 in the business
An applicant stays in the UK on a UK Start-up visa, a UK Innovator visa or Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa, and their business is endorsed by an endorsing body
The business is developing successfully, and the achievements exceed those declared in the business plan
An applicant takes an active part in the day-to-day management and development of the business
Knowledge of the English language at Level B2 or higher on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale
New or existing
Financial requirement – enough funds to support yourself and your family
As it has been mentioned, only the immediate family can apply for UK ILR together with an innovator:
In addition to the £1,270 for the main applicant you must have:
So, to relocate to the UK on a UK Innovator visa, a family of two adults and two children will need £1,270 + £285 + £315 + £200 = £2,070 in their bank account.
We have been helping entrepreneurs worldwide to obtain business visas to the UK. Contact us to start your visa application today.
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